Title: My Absolute Darling

Author: Gabriel Tallent

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

‘You think you’re invincible. You think you won’t ever miss. We need to put the fear on you. You need to surrender yourself to death before you ever begin, and accept your life as a state of grace, and then and only then will you be good enough.’

At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall;
That chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it;
That her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world.
And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.

She doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school;
Why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see;
Why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done
And what her daddy will do when he finds out …

Sometimes strength is not the same as courage.
Sometimes leaving is not the only way to escape.
Sometimes surviving isn’t enough.

The Review

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent is an intoxicating, overwhelming, and intense novel about a young girl on the cusp of young womanhood and the claustrophobic life she leads under the firm hand of her father.

Turtle Alveston has lived alone with her father since her mother’s death. She has been sheltered from the everyday ordinary by her father and instead taught survival skills such as shooting. She is isolated and her world revolves around her insidious relationship with her dad.

My Absolute Darling is a coming of age novel in the most twisted and uncomfortable of ways. For me, the novel had an issue with pacing. For the first half I felt like it was very slow going but that did reflect the smallness and slowness of Turtle’s world. Then the story snowballed and it was the end. For a reader, it can be quite off-putting.

My Absolute Darling is a very disturbing novel. If you are planning on reading it then please be aware that there are a few triggering elements to the story.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent is available now.

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The Blurb

Imagine you are a young mechanic living in a small community in France. You own your own home, and lead a simple life. Then, one evening, you open your front door to find a distraught Hollywood starlet standing in front of you. This is what happens to Arthur Dreyfuss in the village of Long, population 687 inhabitants.

But although feigning an American accent, this woman is not all that she seems. For her name is Jeanine Foucamprez, and her story is very different from the glamorous life of a star. Arthur is not all he seems, either; a lover of poetry with a darker past than one might imagine, he has learnt to see beauty in the mundane.

THE FIRST THING YOU SEE is a warm, witty novel about two fragile souls learning to look beyond the surface – for the first thing you see isn’t always what you get!

The Review

Firstly I would like to thank Sam Eades from Orion Books who sent me a copy of The First Thing You See to review.

I love quirky books. By this I mean books that when you read them you think to yourself that you have never heard a story like this before. Gregoire Delacourt’s novel The First Thing You See is one of these books.

It is gorgeously written and translated and has the most beautiful and lyrical quality to it. It lilts, repeats and refrains in all the right places.

The story of a superstar entering your life is I suspect a dream that we have all harboured at some point and for protagonist Arthur Dreyfuss that is exactly what happens. It is then that his life is taken over by a whirlwind of romance and drama.

The First Thing You See is lovely; at was such a joy to read. It is a story filled with heart and is tinged with sadness but it is strangely uplifting. It is a book that is chockfull of charm and sophistication and is entirely unique and was a genuine pleasure to read.

The First Thing You See by Gregoire Delacourt is available now.

The first thing you see